Written by richlikebeer
RateBeer Archives > Beer Travels
RBSG Montreal, part one
The Friday Night Bottle TastingJuly 14, 2005
Easton, PENNSYLVANIA -
It began innocently enough. At about 5 o’clock, people started trickling into the Senneville conference room of the Lord Berri Hotel in Montreal. Some of the early arrivals, like myself, Eyedrinkale and WillBlake, had arrived in town a little earlier, and had managed a quick trip to one of the nearer brewpubs for a “pre-game” drink, or had cracked open a few bottles of extra brews in our rooms upstairs. But regardless of whether you had a pre-game, or if you got delayed at the airport like Walt, or even if you strolled in at 1 am like egajdzis, who drove up after his full day of work, the Senneville conference room became the Mecca of the Beer World for the next 7 hours.
Introductions were made, names finally put to faces of people some had known for years and never gotten to meet. Of course there was plenty of confusion as everyone introduced themselves by name, and then immediately followed it with their RateBeer handle when their name meant nothing to the person they were speaking to. Strips of yellow raffle tickets were passed out for the evening’s eBay-style auction and Argo0 explained how they worked about a dozen times as each new group of people arrived. And of course, everyone brought in their beer. Boxes, coolers, bombers, growlers, and of course the incredible beer suitcase of Ungstrup…every shape and size bottle imaginable went to the front of the room, where MartinT waited to begin the evenings events.
And that is when the fun started. The dry erase board at the back of the room became the focus of everyone’s attention as the first auction beers of the evening were written at the top, next to the time the auction would close. A mad rush to the front of the room followed as all the bidders logged the price they were willing to pay on MartinT’s clipboard. The bidders were joined by a second rush of people with empty glasses as an announcement was made that the first bottles had been opened. RBSG ’05 had officially begun.
The scene was actually kind of amusing if anyone not from RateBeer had walked into the room, where about 50 men and women moved back and forth from their tables to the front of the room like bees going back and forth to the center of a sunflower. The frenzy of people and passing of bottles was almost immediately followed by a hushed silence, as every person there performed the bizarre looking ritual of sniffing, staring, drinking, and scribbling furiously on everything ranging from the computer printed rating forms of Springslicker to the pink flowered notebook of richlikebeer. Except of course for hopscotch, who sat quietly muttering into his mini-tape recorder (which he promptly lost at Dieu du Ciel the next night).
First went the MM Millennium 2000 and the Rogue Jubilee, along with a host of saisons, dubbels, and tripels. The Russian River auction was next, with Temptation and Damnation separating raters from their lottery tickets. The beginning of the lambics and guezes, as the feeding frenzy was spurred on by Cantillon Loerik and Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait made their appearances. And on it went…Cantillon Spuyten Duyvil, Cuvee de Champions, Belle-Vue Selection and Storm Gueuze. It was a testament to the unbelievable quality of the auction that bottles like Dulle Teve Reserva, Pannepot, Barrel-Aged Fish Tale Leviathan, Nøgne Ø Batch 100, Bush Prestige, Dark Lord, and New Glarus Belgian Red were just general population beers that were opened with little or no fanfare.
This process repeated itself every half hour as each auction ended, with the smaller feeding frenzies in between, as bottles would get opened of things people wanted badly, but they had not emptied their last glass yet. It was common to see people working on a sample in their true tasting glass, with a plastic cup of another brew in front of them, waiting its’ turn.
As the evening began to wind down, growlers and homebrews started coming out, including some fine concoctions from Springslicker and Dickinsonbeer. And let’s not forget about the one-sixth barrel of Founders Breakfast Stout provided by P-tor44 and his crew, which was host to the now infamous keg stand by the great Oakes himself. Then as people started reaching their drinking thresholds, the room began to thin out as the heavily pickled RateBeerians were unleashed on the unsuspecting residents of Montreal.
Richlikebeer, WillBlake, and Dickinsonbeer began the quest for a strip bar, where WillBlake used the women’s bathroom. P-tor44 and his hippie crew wandered the streets trying to trade glasses of beer for another form of entertainment that could not get past customs, and then P-tor44 and the beer took a swim in a lake at one of the city parks.
Jerc, Bück Dich, richlikebeer, Ungstrup and egajdzis went out for pizza at 3 in the morning while Eyedrinkale watched the worst looking prostitutes ever walk past and Oakes squeezed in just one more beer. And to think, this was only the first day.
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Other Stories By richlikebeer
RBSG part 2
Jul 28, 2005